Paramount's Legal Head Returning to Greenberg Practice

LAW
by Amanda Bronstad

Entertainment attorney Barry Haldeman has been lured back to the high-powered firm of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP after five years of running the legal department of Paramount Pictures.

Haldeman, who was executive vice president of legal and business affairs at the Viacom Entertainment Group unit, will re-join Greenberg Glusker on May 6 to work alongside famed entertainment litigator Bert Fields.

"When Bert Fields and the Greenberg people came after me and made me an offer I couldn't refuse, I thought it's time to go back," Haldeman said.

Fields has taken on a number of high-profile cases against Walt Disney Co., including the recent lawsuit over the royalty rights to the "Winnie the Pooh" characters. He also represents actor Tom Cruise and Dreamworks SKG.

Haldeman represented several actors, writers, producers and directors in his previous 10-year stint at Greenberg Glusker, including Gene Hackman and Sally Field.

At Paramount, Haldeman managed several departments and reported directly to superiors at Viacom. Norman Levine, managing partner at Greenberg Glusker, said Haldeman's experience on the studio side will prove useful in representing talent.

Second-hand settlement

California's hotel industry has reached agreement with consumer groups on a plan to limit the amounts paid out on second-hand smoke-related lawsuits.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is expected to approve the settlement proposal within the next few weeks, said Malcolm Weiss, a partner at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP in Los Angeles.

Weiss represents the California Hotel & Lodging Association, whose 1,587 members have spent several million dollars settling lawsuits brought under Proposition 65, the state statute that protects consumers from harmful carcinogens.

The suits claim hotels have exposed employees and guests to cancer-causing chemicals present in second-hand smoke.

The proposed settlement would put a cap on the amount hotels must pay for each lawsuit brought. Weiss said the deal would end up costing hotels less, even though it doesn't bar future claims from being brought under Proposition 65.

Under the proposed settlement, a hotel with fewer than 35 rooms would pay $750 per existing or future claim, while larger hotels would pay $1,250, Weiss said. Individual cases being settled to date have cost hotels from $7,000 to $15,000 each, he said.

The settlement requires hotels to post notices of carcinogens on the premises, said Anthony Graham, a partner at Irvine-based Graham & Martin LLP, which represents two consumer advocacy groups that have filed claims under Proposition 65.


Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com.

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